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Women in Music Series: Interview with Franca Dobbin

– by Tobyn Fitch-Rabbit

Described as “an enigmatic blend of creative angst and passion” (brilliant, I know), Nannup native Franca Dobbin, aka Leoh, has been steadily writing songs over the years, performing around Perth and Nannup both solo and with a backing band, giving her a grungier edge. She has spent much of the past year working on her debut EP which is due to be released soon.

To find out more about Leoh before she performs at our Women in Music Festival we asked her a few questions on her own music and performing within the industry.

On her musical origin story (we’ll save her superhero one for another day): ‘I’ve always had music around me. My dad was always in bands when I was younger and I loved to dance around and be a part of his music. I started playing when I was 13, but it took me until my first experience at university to realise the importance of music in my life.’

Thankful for the progress fought for by previous generous, Franca admits there is still more that can be made. ‘I feel incredibly lucky to have been born into a time where women were given a chance to be themselves free from unfair expectations. Although we are yet to see a perfect world, I think it’s important to celebrate the achievements we’ve made in attempting to get there.’

Talking more about Perth, Franca tells us how she’s looking to start getting more and more involved in the local scene. Her favourite venue to play at is the now defunct YaYas bar in Northbridge (now a faux-Irish pub). ‘I think it was the old interiors, the sticky floors and the tiny backroom that gave it a character I kind’ve enjoyed. It was obvious that the place had seen many live acts, and I liked it.’

Explaining her approach to writing music, and how her songs stem from stories within her life. ‘Inspiration normally comes from issues that I have in my life at the time, most of them are spurred on by an interaction I have or something I experience which leads me to think about deeper meanings in what seems so pedestrian.’

Outside of music, Franca is an avid environmentalist (it does seep over into her songs). ‘I am passionate about creating a world where everything can coexist in happiness and comfort. Where animals no longer go extinct and everything can thrive on the abundance of the earth, without destroying our own and also other living beings ability to live on it. Somewhat a tree hugger you might say, but in all seriousness, I think we have great potential to solve our unsustainable problems and would like to work towards that in every way that I can.’

Food that best describes her sound? ‘Onions – with layers.’

TOP 3

  • Live music venues: 459 Bar, Astor Lounge, Mojos.
  • Films of all time: Divergent, Life of Brian, Inception.
  • Places to go on a day trip: Kings Park,  Cottesloe Beach, The River Foreshore.

LEOH MIXTAPE

  • Song when you’re feeling down – ‘1979’ Smashing Pumpkins
  • Happy song – ‘Open Happiness’ Brendon Urie, Cee-Lo Green, Janelle Monae, Patrick Stump & Travis McCoy
  • Guilty pleasure – ‘The Lazy Song’ Bruno Mars
  • Song that makes you dance – ‘This Charming Man’ The Smiths
  • Song from childhood – ‘Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own’ U2
  • Song that brings back childhood memories – Anything by U2
  • A song of your own that you have the most fun playing – ‘Half Glass Full Girl’

To listen to (most of) this mixtape and more, look up ‘Leoh Mixtape’ on the colosoulmusic Spotify.

Leoh is playing alongside a variety of other super talented Perth ladies at our Women in Music Festival this Wednesday 11 March. A creative music event in support of women and women’s issues, Women in Music will showcase an array of local talent in music. The primary focus will be on Women’s Day 2015, with support from female artists in the growing local music scene. Check out the Facebook event here.

Photo Credit: Leoh

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